As parents, we understand the importance of educating our children on how to navigate the many dangers that are out there. If your clothes catch fire, you stop, drop, and roll. If an earthquake starts, you get under a sturdy desk. If you got into a bicycle accident, seek immediate help. If a guy in a windowless van offers you a ride to the candy store, you should probably run for the hills.
Yes, we try to cover all of the essentials, but what about the importance of home security? If we’re being completely honest, how many of us are actually taking the time to educate our kids about what to do during a home invasion and how to avoid an invasion in the first place? Take a look at the following list and see how many of these topics have been adequately covered in your household.
Operating the Alarm System
If you have a home security system installed, it’s important that your children understand how to operate it. They should know how to arm and disarm the system, how to activate the panic siren, and how to manage other basic functions. If you use a third-party monitoring service, your children should also be made aware of the unique password used to confirm your identity. Finally, as Devin Ortiz from TechMSD says, “Remember to educate your children not only as to how the security system is used, but also why”.
Kids will be kids, and today’s kids are more distracted than ever before. What with all the video games, i-gadgets, and text conversations, it’s a wonder that our children ever find the front door at all. But certain habits and routines should never be neglected, and an unlocked door is an invasion invitation. It’s not enough to have a Doberman Pinscher or Pomeranian Husky guarding your house because they can only do so much. You also need to teach your kids to always lock doors after entering and exiting and remind them as many times as it takes to drive the point home. If you’re persistent enough, the habit will ultimately become a reflex.
Hopefully your kids already understand how to call 911 in an emergency, but if you have never actually created an opportunity to sit down and have the conversation, don’t just assume that they know the drill. Talk to them. Establish an emergency procedure. Answer their questions. The key is to establish emergency preparedness without inciting fear.
Don’t assume that your kids are simply playing games or watching shows on their mini gadgets. The majority of 10- to 12-year-olds today use social media despite the age limitation rules set by social media sites and your kids might not be aware that many burglars use social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook to plan their robberies. They might also not be aware that child predators lurk on these sites. If your kids just love their status updates, tweets, and pins, make sure to closely monitor their online activity and instill within them practical information for staying safe. Again, it’s not about making them fearful; it’s about teaching them common sense when looking to ensure their safety.
Communicating with Strangers at the Door
This is a touchy subject, because on one hand, you never want your kids opening the door for strangers, and on the other hand, you never want the bad guys to think that nobody’s home. Burglars will often disguise themselves as solicitors and go door-to-door looking for vacant homes, or fishing for information about your home security system or daily routine. When it comes to your kids, the best solution is to install a peephole. Your children can always check to see who’s at the door without leaving themselves vulnerable. In the event that one of your kids is home alone, they should always indicate to strangers that a parent is on the phone or in the shower.
What to Do During a Home Invasion
Now for the million-dollar question: what should your child do when the unthinkable happens? Your house is broken into and the burglars are inside. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question because there are many factors that will determine the optimal safety plan:
- the layout of the house,
- the number of people who live inside the home, and
- whether or not you have a home security system in place (just to name a few).
The important thing is that you establish an emergency strategy for such an occasion and make sure that everyone in the house is privy to the plan with plenty of gadgets to grab on out of the toolbox. Give your kids a firm foundation of safety preparedness and you’ll all sleep a little easier at night.